35th Bienal de São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec 2023
Free Admission
35th Bienal de
São Paulo
6 Set to 10 Dec
Track 5

Torkwase Dyson

Hi, I’m Isa Silva, a designer from Bahia, entrepreneur, fashion influencer, consultant and speaker. I’m known for developing inclusive fashion, with genderless clothes, inspired by the Afro and Indigenous vision and experience. I’m going to follow you on the next four tracks of this audio guide.

Have you ever wondered how our bodies behave in different spaces?

For the 35th Bienal, Torkwase Dyson is presenting a brand new installation, commissioned for the show, which investigates this question. Dyson is a black woman born in 1973 in Chicago, United States, and considers spatial relations to be an urgent issue, both in the current context and historically, due to the violent instrumentalization of architecture by colonialism. She thinks about the ways in which black and brown bodies agency natural and built spaces, as well as their strategies of self-emancipation and spatial liberation. In this way, Dyson seeks to create more habitable geographies or, as she describes it, to “make forms that celebrate possibilities”.

Torkwase Dyson’s work is made up of three black structures that look like triangular monuments. But instead of the upper part being pointed, it has a rounded shape. They all have the same dimensions: approximately three and a half meters high, one and a half meters deep and two meters and twenty centimeters wide. Each of the structures is made up of two equal parts, as if the triangle had been cut in half. On top of these two halves there is a metal sheet that wraps around them from the base and makes an arc at the top. This means that there is a gap between the two halves through which a person can pass. The three structures are arranged one behind the other, as in an Indian row, with a space of approximately seven meters between them.

To create this installation, Dyson carried out his research in a ruin called Casa da Torre de Garcia d’Ávila, located in the municipality of Mata de São João, in Bahia. Historically, it was owned by Garcia d’Ávila, a man known for having perpetrated an atrocious regime of slavery of indigenous and black populations between the 16th and 18th centuries. In the current photos, the ruins of this House have walls made of blackened stones and arch-shaped entrances.